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Bataan Transits Suez Canal, Enters U.S. 5th Fleet

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070130-14
Release Date: 1/30/2007 7:00:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Joanne De Vera, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) and the Sailors and Marines of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) successfully transited the Suez Canal on Jan. 30 and entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

While in the region, the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) will conduct maritime security operations (MSO).

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.

“We’ll continue our role as the surface warfare commander and the air defense commander for the Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group,” said Cmdr. Jon Carriglitto, Bataan’s operations officer. “Together with the MEU, we bring the ability to insert a quick, capable amphibious force where it’s needed.”

While in theater, approximately 6,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines assigned to the ESG and the 26th MEU provide the combatant commander a versatile sea-based force that can be tailored to a variety of missions. The Bataan ESG has the capabilities to support MSO, combat operations and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief.

“Bataan ESG’s presence in the U.S. 5th Fleet will require the crew to conduct what it does best: well deck and flight deck operations,” said Carriglitto. “We’ll be conducting varsity-level operations, but much of it falls right in line with our ongoing training, so I know we’re ready to meet those challenges.”

Bataan, commanded by Capt. David Hulse, left its homeport of Norfolk on Jan. 4 for a regularly-scheduled deployment as the flagship of the Bataan ESG. The ESG is comprised of the Bataan Strike Group, commanded by Commodore Donna Looney, commander, Bataan Strike Group/Amphibious Squadron 2, and the 26th MEU based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., commanded by Col. Gregg Sturdevant.

In addition to Bataan, the strike group consists of USS Shreveport (LPD 12), USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), USS Nitze (DDG 94), USS Underwood (FFG 36), and USS Scranton (SSN 756).

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